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Sheppard Gallery Heart Art Auction

Kathy Wood inspects Rebekah Bogard’s “Age of Discovery.” To her right hangs Ahren Hertel’s “Puncture.”

Kathy Wood inspects Rebekah Bogard’s “Age of Discovery.” To her right hangs Ahren Hertel’s “Puncture.”

Photo By David Robert

Every other year for the past 18, a special event has taken place around Feb. 14 that has everything to do with heart, art and giving, but nothing to do with awkward dates or diamond jewelry. It’s the Valentine’s Day Art Auction, a silent auction and raffle to benefit UNR’s Sheppard Gallery. It’s the gallery’s only fundraiser.

This year, for the ninth biennial auction, roughly 90 artists are represented. All work is currently on show at the gallery. Most of the artists, like Eunkang Koh, Tamara Scronce, J. Damron, Robert Brown, Anthony Alston, Ahren Hertel and Rebekah Bogard are from Northern Nevada, though a handful of out-of-towners, like Polly Apfelbaum and Fawn Krieger, have contributed as well.

Each artist has donated an original piece of work that will go to the highest bidder, with the proceeds going to Sheppard Gallery.

Though artists are allowed to create whatever they wish, many stuck to a heart theme. Works range from handmade books to sculpture, paintings to prints.

Larry Williamson’s piñon pine creation, “Hearts ‘o’ Plenty–Great Basin Cupid with a Little Touch of the Devil,” is a wood-carved wall sculpture featuring red hearts and a figure with arms open and placed at center.

Hertel’s painting, “Puncture” depicts a hummingbird poking at the bubbly output of a tentacled water creature. Apfelbaum created the flowery, “Valentine Bouquet.”

Leah Ruby donated a handmade book titled Wallpaper Sample Book for Couples. The pages resemble Rorschach inkblot tests—mirror images joined in the middle.

A limited edition print by artist and UNR professor Michael Sarich will be put up on the block.

The artist Renate’s piece, “Delicious,” is “a series of five sets of wax lips on which shiny little beads have been carefully adhered.”

A number of pieces point toward the harsher, darker side of the emotional scale; several featuring bullet imagery. Among such fierce works is Damron’s “Untitled,” from the series Red Lips, War Paint, Half a Horse, which makes its pointed statement with a finely crafted spike atop a beautiful block of oak.

Bidding starts at $45. At the last auction, the highest winning bid for any work was $400. Given the quality of the work and résumés of the artists represented, such cash outlays practically constitute a fire sale.

Not surprisingly, this is a great event at which to cut your art-buying teeth, and for the more involved art collector, it’s a fabulous chance at some stunning buys. To win, you should be present and ready to bid, though you can send a representative, or give the gallery your highest bid in cash or check beforehand.

Event organizer Kathy Wood expects a crowd of 300 or more and, she says, the bidding gets wild up to the last seconds.

Raffle prizes include dinner at the Peppermill or Sushi Pier 2, a gift certificate to Se7en Teahouse, Steamboat Springs, or a bottle of wine from Whispering Vine.

Bidding goes all week starting Feb. 4, with the auction, raffle and party starting around 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 8.